Planning a visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park area? Here is our recommendation for the best Grand Canyon viewpoints from the North Rim. We share our experiences on how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and more. Finally, as usual, we give you some photography tips and suggestions for the best hiking routes on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. North Rim is a remote and isolated part of the Grand Canyon, so check our tips.This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
About Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim
North Rim of Grand Canyon is quieter, more remote, and offers fewer services than South Rim. This rugged portion of Grand Canyon National Park receives fewer visitors and offers a more outdoor-minded experience. That’s why we like this part. The four plateaus run along the North Rim offering a breathtaking array of sights, a range of geologic features, and miles of territory to explore. The four parts (plateaus) along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are:
- Kaibab Plateau called “Mountain Lying Down”
- Kanab Plateau meaning “Willow”
- Uinkaret Plateau called “Place of Pines”
- Shivwits Plateau, meaning “Whitish Earth” or Coyote Springs”.
In this article, we share our favorite places from one of the parts of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is: the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the Kaibab Plateau. However, the most scenic part of the Grand Canyon is Toroweap Point on Uinkaret Plateau. These are two different places on the North Rim, with different access roads, so please read the following article carefully. In a separate article, we give you details about the Toroweap Overlook on Uinkaret Plateau. Here we focus on North Rim with Bright Angel Point, Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center, North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim, and more.
If you plan to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, check our pictures from the best viewpoints and tips which help plan your trip around Grand Canyon in this post. If you plan to see a remote Toroweap Overlook check our separate article. Consider also Grand Canyon detailed Map with North and South Rims.
Facts about Grand Canyon North Rim
North Rim is the highest part of the Grand Canyon. Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), while South Rim’s highest point is 7,522 feet (2,293 meters) above sea level. Due to its elevation, the North Rim is also cooler in temperature and experiences heavy snow in winter, resulting in a shorter season. Due to this, the road to North Rim might be closed from November till mid-May.
Our selection of Grand Canyon National Park area maps and guides:
|Arizona Trails Northeast Region||Arizona & The Grand Canyon||Arizona and the Grand Canyon||Arizona & the Grand Canyon 2020|
|View Item||View Item||View Item||View Item|
North Rim Grand Canyon Weather
We have collected some weather data for you. In the chart, you can see average temperatures at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon throughout the year.
In this chart, you can check expected rainfall shown as average precipitation in inches for each month. It looks that the best is May and June, but please remember that North Rim road opens on May 15th.
How to get to North Rim of Grand Canyon?
Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim is located in Northern Arizona, 220 miles by road from the South Rim. Its visitation is only one-tenth that of the South Rim; however, it is certainly within reach.
The closest known cities on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are Page, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah. From Kanab, via Fredonia, you drive 45 min (37 mi) via US-89A N to the intersection with Route 67 (this is where the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center is located). You have a little further with Page—one hour 40 min (80 mi) via US-89A S and US-89 N to Route 67.
Then take the scenic Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway (Route 67), leaving U.S. 89A at the junction at Jacob Lake. This road follows 43 miles through forests and meadows to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Drive offers wildlife views; you can encounter bison and falcons and other animals. Route 67 is closed from the first heavy snowstorms in November through May 15.
Grand Canyon Maps
The newest map we can recommend is Grand Canyon, North and South Rims. Key areas of interest featured on this map include Colorado River miles 60-98, North and South Rim visitor centers, Grand Canyon Village, Tusayan, Bright Angel Trail (plus elevation profile), West Rim Trail, Kaibab Trail, Arizona Trail, and more. This map includes also Grand Canyon National Park, Kaibab National Forest, Little Colorado River, Marble Canyon. One of the best maps will come in handy when you are going to spend more than a day or two on the Grand Canyon. And the area is so vast that it is worth planning a more extended vacation here.
If you are planning a visit Grand Canyon for several days and you want to see all its parts and most exciting places, it pays to buy a set of 3 maps: Grand Canyon National Park Map Pack Bundle. National Geographic Trails Illustrated’s three map collection provides a comprehensive overview of the entire park and its neighboring areas. The set includes Grand Canyon North and South Rims with enhanced detail maps around the central Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Village and the Bright Angel Trail. Moreover, you get the Grand Canyon East and Grand Canyon West map. We like this set of maps because they have a good scale and they are waterproof and tear-resistant.
We also use Grand Canyon Trail Map. A new, more detailed 7th edition has been released in 2020, which is excellent. It’s worth buying it. Trails have trail ratings, text descriptions & statistics. It includes 100ft contours, shaded relief, a UTM grid for use with GPS, springs & drinking water, backcountry use zones, and much more. Very durable. Most importantly, very accurate. If you plan on doing any backpacking and camping in the Grand Canyon, this is the one to buy. It includes more detail, particularly if you want to get a little away from the regular routes.
Our selection of Grand Canyon National Park maps and guides:
|Arizona & the Grand Canyon 2020||Grand Canyon Trail Map 2020||Hiking Grand Canyon 2020||Grand Canyon Map|
|View Item||View Item||View Item||View Item|
The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim
The most beautiful views from Grand Canyon North Rim are at sunrise and sunset. That is why it is worth planning your visit so that you can at least see one of these spectacles of nature. If you have to pick one – stay at sunset.
We went there for sunset and stayed until sunrise. During the night, we admired the milky way.
Bright Angel Point – the best Grand Canyon Viewpoint from North Rim
To experience the wonders of the North Rim, you might begin with a short walk on a paved trail from Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim to Bright Angel Point, which provides a spectacular view of the canyon. It’s also an excellent spot for taking photos. From this point, you can see Roaring Springs more than 3,000 feet below the rim. It is the sole source of drinking water for both the North and South rims. Roaring Springs begins as snowmelt on the Kaibab Plateau, gushes out of the rocky canyon wall, and gradually captures and pumps back up to the edges.
From Bright Angel Point, there are also excellent views of Bright Angel, Transept, and Roaring Springs side canyons. The South Rim and the San Francisco Peaks are visible in the distance.
For us, Bright Angel Point is the best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim. So, if you have limited time and must choose what to see, focus on this overlook.
Point Imperial and Cape Royal – best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim
Spectacular views offers also Point Imperial and Cape Royal. Point Imperial, which is 11 miles from Grand Canyon Lodge and is the highest point on either rim. Second is Cape Royal, 14 miles from the junction of the Point Imperial and Cape Royals roads.
At 8,803 feet, Point Imperial is the highest and northernmost viewpoint on the North Rim and offers a very different panorama than the other two popular viewpoints farther south (Cape Royal and Bright Angel Point). Imperial sits high above the region where the Grand Canyon first takes on its characteristic broad, branching appearance. This is because to the north the cliffs on either side of Colorado are relatively close (a mile or less).
The Imperial is connected to the Cape Royal Highway by a winding byway that leads up the narrow, partially forested valley of upper Bright Angel Creek, past some meadows and open grassy slopes, and ends after 2.6 miles at a circular parking area next to the Point. It is only a few minutes from the parking area and an easy walk to the overlook. The views are expansive and varied and include the Echo & Vermilion Cliffs, the upper Colorado Canyon (Marble Gorge), the flat, treeless plateau east of the river, and a large area of rocks and cliffs downstream to the south. This is an excellent place to watch a Grand Canyon sunset because of the many side canyons visible and the site’s high elevation.
Cape Royal is the southernmost viewpoint on the North Rim. It offers the most comprehensive panorama of any Grand Canyon viewpoint-the Grand Canyon occupies about 270° of the horizon, from Marble Canyon to the north, south across the Palisades of the Desert, and west for many miles toward the main South Rim visitor area around Garden Creek.
Getting there requires a fairly long drive, as the point is 53 miles south of Jacob Lake and the junction with US 89, and 14 miles from the North Rim visitor center at Bright Angel Point. The latter section is on a relatively narrow and sometimes winding road that passes through a forested valley and over rolling country connecting the Kaibab Plateau with the Valhalla Plateau. An easy and mostly flat trail leading south to the overlook at the very edge of the North Rim landmass.
The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim Hiking Trails
Below are a few easy-moderate trails recommend in this part of the Grand Canyon. There are recommendations from North Rim and Toroweap. But there are many more, of course. Prepare carefully for this trip if you plan a few days camping at the Grand Canyon. Take maps, guide, and GPS. And if you plan to camp at one of the campgrounds of the Grand Canyon area, check our Havasupai Packing List in which we recommend trekking equipment for the Grand Canyon area, camping gear, trekking clothes, and more advice for hikes into the Grand Canyon area.
Transept Trail from North Rim
It’s an easy and short hike. The trailhead is on the Grand Canyon Lodge, and it’s only 3 miles hike. The elevation is 8,160 feet, gain 100 feet. This trail follows the canyon rim to the North Rim Campground. The views are beautiful.
North Kaibab Trail from North Rim
The trailhead starts in Grand Canyon North Rim, and it’s a strenuous trail. Distance and hiking times vary a lot; it depends on you, how long you want to hike. You need a permit for this trail if you’re going to stay overnight. The elevation is 8240 feet, and gain is -5,760 feet. It is the only maintained trail into the canyon from North Rim. Even a short hike to Coconino Overlook (1,4 miles round-trip) or Supai Tunnel (4 miles round trip) can give you an appreciation for the canyon’s abundant natural beauty and immense size. You can also take a strenuous 9,4 mile round hike to Roaring Springs, or a two- to three-day round trip trek to Bright Angel Campground, 14 miles below the North Rim at the canyon’s bottom. But remember that you need a permit.
|Best Easy Day Hiking Guide||Grand Canyon Trail Map 2020||Hiking Grand Canyon 2020||Hiking the Grand Canyon|
|View Item||View Item||View Item||View Item|
Cape Final Trail from North Rim area
This trailhead is located 2,5 miles north of the Cape Royal parking area. It’s a moderate hike, which takes 4 miles round-trip. The elevation is 7,850 feet and gains 210 feet. This walk offers a magnificent view of the canyon.
Grand Canyon North Rim Camping & Lodging
The season on the North Rim is shorter, so you should plan your accommodation. There are also fewer places and services than in the South Rim. Camping is permitted only in designated campgrounds in the North Rim, and reservations fill up quickly, because of the short season. You have to make a reservation at recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
North Rim Campground
The North Rim Campground has 83 sites and can accommodate RVs. You have to make a reservation at recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
Cottonwood Campground is located halfway down the North Kaibab Trail along Bright Angel Creek. An overnight permit is required to camp and costs $10, plus $8 per person or stock animal per night. You have to purchase backcountry passes ahead of time. Grand Canyon Backcountry Information Center is located in Flagstaff, Arizona: 1824 S. Thompson St., Suite 201, AZ 86001; phone number: (928) 639-7875.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim was designed in the 1920s by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. The lodge is an informal and spacious hotel. Constructed of massive limestone walls and timbered ceilings, it features dramatic vistas of the canyon. Accommodations are in heavy demand from May through October. So you should try to make reservations several months in advance at https://www.grandcanyonforever.com/. Grand Canyon Lodge has also Dininig Room.
Lodging in Kanab or Page
We highly recommend staying in Kanab, Utah, or Page, Arizona. They are an excellent base for exploring the north part of the Grand Canyon and the area. They have great accommodation and restaurants with good food. Our favorite lodging in Kanab is Best Western. If you prefer RV Campground our favorite in Kanab is Hitch-N-Post RV Park.
In Page, we also stayed in the Best Western. They offer good quality at an affordable price. But both in Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona, you have a lot of other lodging possibilities. We suggest staying in Kanab as it is much closer to the North Rim, so you will have more time to explore the Grand Canyon. And this town has a fantastic atmosphere. We like it.
Photography Hints for Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim
In this section of our guide, we give you photo tips for Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim for two places of North Rim: both the North Rim Kaibab Plateau and the Toroweap Formation. This article contains information on how to get to the Toroweap, where to stay, and what to do there.
What season is best for Grand Canyon North Rim photography?
Above all, remember that the North Rim season is shorter. The road is closed from the first snow in November till mid-May. The best time to visit is in the fall (from September till the beginning of November) at the end of the tourist season.
Toroweap Point is open all year; we love this place after a season in October-November. Both these points: Toroewep and North Rim are much less prevalent than in the Grand Canyon South Rim. There are very few tourists here so that you can focus on photography in peace. You don’t have to fight for a spot.
More inspirations you can find in books:
|Where, When, and How to Capture the Best Photos||Between River and Rim||Arizona: The Grand Canyon State||125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography|
|View Item||View Item||View Item||View Item|
What time of day is best?
For both North Rim and Toroweap is good to be on sunrise and sunset too. You have different lights on the rocks and canyon. But if you have only one or a half-day and you have to choose the time, it’s better to take pictures from both points: North Rim and Toroweap Overlook at sunset.
What photographic opportunities are there?
The essential difference between Toroweap Overlook and North Rim is that you can see the Colorado River from Toroweap. But you won’t see the Colorado River from the North Rim. So if you have only one day and you have to choose, the most beautiful is the Toroweap Formation. For us, it is the most amazing and breathtaking place in Grand Canyon National Park at all.
North Rim is the highest part of the Grand Canyon at all, so photos from this point are spectacular due to differences in height. In good weather, even South Rim can be seen from the Bright Angel Point. Rock formations are incredible so that you can take exciting shots.
From the Toroweap Overlook, you have a view of the extremely colorful Torowep rock formations and the Colorado River. It is the narrowest part of the Grand Canyon, and that’s why it’s such a spectacular view. You can also take a short walk along with the rim and photograph cactuses or dead trees on the edge of the Grand Canyon.
What gear should you take?
First of all, a tripod is a must-have. Tripod is necessary for landscapes for sunrise and sunset. We recommend a stable tripod because you will take photos over the rim. Don’t take too light tripod; the wind can be intense. We have been using Sirui for years, they are reliable and durable tripods.
Do not forget also Remote Control Shutter Release. It is much safer to use it over the abyss, and you don’t lose your balance using it. So you do not have to lean too often over the tripod. Our choice is Camera Remote Wireless Shutter Release Intervalometer which is perfect also for night photos – milky way and stars. You’ll be over the gulf when it’s dark, therefore take also a headlamp and gloves. They are essential for your comfort, too.
Camera. If you read our earlier articles you know that we use Canon and Nikon. Agnes uses Nikon D750, and Chris Canon EOS R. Both cameras were ideal for Grand Canyon National Park due to their quality and flexibility. They are light enough as well to pack into a camping backpack.
Lenses. Above all, for photos of the Grand Canyon National Park, it’s best to have a wide lens. Take the widest (ultra-wide recommended) and fastest aperture lens you have (good options are Canon 16-35/2.8 or Nikon 14-24/2.8).
This time at the Grand Canyon North Rim Chris used also Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and Agnes used also Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G .
With memory cards, it is easy. You always should buy the fastest and most reliable ones. For years we were using SanDisk and Lexar CF and SD cards for the reason that we never had any issues with them. This is why we can recommend them to you.
Minimum: Circular polarizing filter. Please make sure it fits your lens diameter. We recommend Heliopan or B+W filters.
Optimum: Circular polarizing filter, and ND grad filters (we suggest Lee soft edge 0.9 and Lee reverse ND grad, to begin with). In the case of ND grads, you will need a holder as well.
Finally, Maximum: Circular polarizing filter, ND grad filters (minimum Lee soft edge 0.9, Lee reverse ND grad and a holder), and full ND (Lee Big Stopper or Little Stopper).
Does it require any hiking or other activities?
It depends on you and the time you have. In the chapter above, you have a few recommendations on the hiking trails that are rather easy, and you will have beautiful views. But you don’t have to hike there. It’s not necessary to take photos.
From the parking lot to Bright Angel Point is a 15-20 min hike. But it’s an easy trail, and the path is wide. The Grand Canyon viewpoints are secured with iron rails, so the place is rather safe. Interesting Grand Canyon viewpoints are also at the height of North Rim Lodge. We were taking pictures of these points during sunset. From Bright Angel Point, we photographed the sunrise. However, sunset from this point is also impressive.
From the parking lot to Toroweap, you have 2 minutes to the rim. From Tuweep Campground, it’s about 20 minutes to the rim. But you have to watch out for the edge of the rim. Remember, you are standing over a gulf. It’s not worth dying for one photo. So choose a safe and stable place for photography. Do not place the tripod on edge. Don’t get close to the side, either. You don’t have any security or railings there. It’s pure nature and wilderness. So be very careful.
What kind of clothes do you need?
First of all, it depends on the season you are going to. But even in summer, the differences between day and night temperatures are significant, so it is worth taking warm cloaths. Therefore, the best idea is to pack thermal underwear and wear in layers. If you stay overnight for sunrise, take a sweatshirt and windbreaker jacket because the winds can be intense. Furthermore, hiking boots are a must-have, too (our choice is Mammut ). We highly recommended also trekking poles. If you are going to sleep in a tent, take a warm sleeping bag and pad mattress.
Finally, we’ve prepared a complex packing list for camping in the Grand Canyon. The list is called Havasupai Packing List, but it contains necessary camping gear throughout the Grand Canyon National Park and Southwest in general. Including camping gear, cooking equipment, clothes, safety, and more. So check it, please prepare properly for your adventure.
How long I need to get great pictures here?
If you can take pictures both at sunrise and sunset, it would be great, and that would be the best. A day or two in good weather is enough.
However, if you have only one day and you have to choose, it’s better to take pictures from both points: North Rim and Toroweap Overlook at sunset.
More photo inspiration and tips from the most beautiful and exciting places in Arizona, you will find in our Arizona Photo & Travel Guide!